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Letter: The heart of the matter is the heart

Guns, drugs, sex, and money—are they evil or good—what are they? Money can bless a family purchasing the necessities of life or ruin a family when it becomes a god (Mt 6:24). Sex within matrimony is beautiful and causes untold grief outside (Heb 13:4). Prescribed by a doctor drugs alleviate suffering but harm when used irresponsibly. Responsibly used guns protect life otherwise they do great evil. Inanimate objects have no intellect or will of their own. The issue comes down to the one using these gifts. Jesus addresses this when he says,

"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person" (Mt 15:19-20).

Guns, drugs, sex, and money do not defile a person. The heart of the issue is the sinful heart which corrupts all God's good gifts. A short-sighted view of history and weak anthropology says people are intrinsically good. Jesus did not come to die for good people but for bad people. Lutherans confess this every Sunday with words such as these; "Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean."

Through St. Paul Jesus also says, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure" (Tit 1:15), and "each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire" (Jam 1:14).

The only hope for society is good government and laws which are enforced to curb the evil in our hearts which misuse God's gifts. The only hope for the sinner—you and me—is through the death of the sinful nature by returning to our baptism in repentance and faith. As Martin Luther said in his first of his ninety-five theses; "When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, 'Repent' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." It is at the cross of Christ as we die to our sin and rise to the new life given us in our baptisms (Rom 6:4).

Rev. Karl Weber,

St. John's Lutheran, Ottertail

St. Paul's Lutheran, Richville

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